Volunteer Notes A Newsletter of the League of American Orchestras' Volunteer Council

The League of American Orchestras' Volunteer Council leads, advocates, and champions volunteer organizations in their efforts to support their orchestras' community outreach and civic partnerships to advance the experience of orchestral music.


Ginny Lundquist, Volunteer Notes Editor | ginny10849@me.com

Detroit Symphony Orchestra Volunteer Council


A Letter from the Incoming President

Volunteer Council Highlights

Creating the Greatest Impact – Conference Review

Gold Book Awards 2019

Resource Spotlight

Volunteer Council Sustainers Hit A High Note in Chicago

Life at the League – Meet our Liaison

The Volunteer Council

A Letter from the Incoming President

It is an honor and pleasure to serve as the 2018-2019 President of the Volunteer Council. My term with the Council began in 2012; I have held various positions including Conference Chair, Volunteer Notes Editor, and Member Recruitment.

The Council is a wonderful, talented group of leaders and volunteers, working hard on behalf of their respective symphonies and the League of American Orchestras’ Volunteer Council. Although there is still great excitement after our 2018 Chicago Conference, we have begun our preparations for the League’s 2019 Conference in Nashville, June 3-5, 2019. Mark your calendar now! The League continues its dedication to advancing the orchestral experience for all and is at the forefront on all issues that may arise related to orchestras.

A few of the resources available for volunteers can be found online, from award-winning volunteer projects to best practice webinars at www.americanorchestras/org/board-members-volunteers/volunteers.

The Volunteer Council also offers mentoring services for volunteer organizations experiencing difficulties on any number of issues facing the volunteer world. Current leadership can feel free to contact dweagle@americanorchestras.org so the appropriate person will be assigned for your specific need.


Please join me and Volunteer Council President-elect Terry White (Amarillo Symphony Guild) for these in-depth conversations with your peers. The series consists of five 60-minute calls on the following dates and times: Wednesdays at 3:00pm EST on October 3, October 17, November 7, November 14, and November 28.

Together, we will talk about governance, leadership development, member recruitment and retention, fundraising, and other topics. We will email agendas and resource materials to all participants in advance of each call, and minutes from the conversations will be distributed following the call. Redacted notes for Strategic Conversations back to 2015 are available on the League's website. To register for the first Strategic Conversation on October 3, please complete the online form no later than September 28, 2018. Please note the tuition fee is $25 for this program.

W have limited space, so sign up early and join the conversation. We look forward to sharing, learning, solving, and laughing with you!

Our Facebook page, Friends of the League of American Orchestra Volunteer Council, is up and running and we invite you to join!

I anticipate a wonderful year for the VC with the following leadership working hard:

Terry White (Texas), President-Elect

Becky Odland (Minnesota), Immediate Past President

Linda Stevens (Kansas City), Conference Chair

Tresa Radermacher (Northwest Indiana), Conference Chair-Elect.

Serving as Sustainer Liaison Trio Extraordinaire (The Texas Posse) are Laura Hyde, Heather Moore, and Helen Shaffer. Mary Lou Turner (Kansas City) will remain our superb Sustainer Mentor.

For all of you, I wish you much success with your symphony volunteer organization and a prosperous year for all! We will continue “Creating the Greatest Impact.”

Tiffany Ammerman, President 2018 - 2019 | tifn2@yahoo.com

Marshall Symphony League

This Year's Volunteer Council Highlights

I'm a former high school English teacher and one of the short stories I taught as part of an American Literature class was Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener." The narrative is about a man named Bartleby who was hired as a clerk in a law firm. At first, his employment went well. However later, when asked to do an assignment, his response was "I prefer not to." This answer continued and ultimately he lost his job. During my tenure as president, I have never heard those words uttered by any member of the Volunteer Council! Each person takes responsibility seriously, thus the entire council is stronger and efficient.

This past year, twenty Volunteer Council (VC) members (including four ex officio) from 16 states, dedicated themselves to the mission of supporting orchestra volunteers nationwide in advancing the experience of orchestral music. Caitlin Whealon followed by Derek Weagle, the League of American Orchestras’ staff liaisons to the Volunteer Council, were essential to every aspect of our work. Sarah Good, our liaison for the Chicago Conference, and representing the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, was helpful and welcoming, as was Mimi Duginger, its President.

Highlights of the year include:

  • The League's Development Office staff, along with the VC Past President Debbie McKinney, implemented a volunteer fundraising strategy to raise gifts for the League's annual fund.
  • Linda Weisbruch, VC Sustainer Liaison, worked with a member of the League staff to develop and implement a Sustainer survey and engagement plan which spanned the League year.
  • Lori Julian, a member of the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, welcomed Volunteer Council members twice into her lovely home, including our Annual Dinner in June.
  • Once again, VC members provided a wine and cheese reception for all League staff during our Winter Meeting, furthering our relationship with staff.
  • Strategic Conversations, a five-conference-call series for volunteer association presidents and presidents-elect, offered guidance in leadership challenges, including membership and fundraising, answered questions, and gave opportunities for networking.
  • Communication and marketing to the field included a newly formed Facebook page (Friends of the League of American Orchestra Volunteer Council) and a letter-writing campaign contacting volunteer associations within a 500-mile radius of Chicago. Volunteer Notes, our quarterly e-newsletter, also enticed volunteers from across the country to attend the League Conference, in addition to providing pertinent articles for orchestra volunteers.
  • On behalf of the Volunteer Council, a reception for League Board members and volunteers from Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra and Friends of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra was hosted by Becky and Mark Odland in May during a League Board meeting in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • Planning the volunteer sessions at the 73rd National Conference in Chicago represented our most significant contribution and is detailed in the 2018 Conference Chair Camille Williams' article. This Conference was meticulously organized, well attended, and accomplished the goals of learning best practices, creating networking opportunities, and listening to impactful musicians.

I have passed the gavel to Tiffany Ammerman, incoming President, who will lead next year with utmost dedication. It has been an honor to serve as the Volunteer Council President this year. All the work we do is not possible without the League's expertise, and the collective energy of each talented and dedicated Volunteer Council member who has been my mentor, advisor, and friend.

A sincere thank you,

Becky Odland, President 2017-2018 | oddball72@aol.com

Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra

Creating the Greatest Impact – Conference Review

The 73rd National Conference was held at the Palmer House hotel in Chicago, Wednesday, June 13 to Friday, June 15. The Conference theme, Creating the Greatest Impact, was explored by various sessions and by leading speakers and musicians Vijay Gupta, Jennifer Koh, Demarre and Anthony McGill, and Yo-Yo Ma. Each speaker shared the inspirations that influenced their artistry and their visions for the future of arts and culture.

The week began for volunteers on Tuesday evening with the Gold Book reception honoring the following winners of eight Awards of Excellence projects. Gold Book Award Winners showcased their projects with PowerPoint presentations over the next several days.

  • Symphony Guild of Charlotte: Taste of the Tour Silent Auction
  • Illinois Guild of Bloomington-Normal: Lavender and Lemons: A Kitchen Tour and More
  • Utah Symphony Guild: A Night in Paris
  • Spokane Symphony Associates: Music Bingo for Membership
  • Grand Rapids Symphony Friends: Blandford Enchanted
  • FRIENDS of the Minnesota Orchestra: Kinder Konzerts on the Road
  • Friends of Lee’s Summit Symphony: A Crystal Celebration
  • Las Vegas Philharmonic Guild: Romanian Rhapsody

Immediately following the reception, volunteers arriving early were afforded the opportunity to attend a Dine-Around at one of four exciting Chicago restaurants within easy walking distance of the Palmer House. Volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to network with colleagues in small groups over delectable dinners. Conversation flowed, and creative ideas were exchanged.

The Volunteer sessions opened on Wednesday morning with a welcome message from Volunteer Council President Becky Odland and Mimi Duginger, President of the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. This was followed by remarks on How to Get the Most Out of Conference by Conference Chair Camille Williams.

On Wednesday and Friday, ten winning projects were showcased in stimulating Roundtables, an “expo” type format. One additional table displayed Volunteer Council resources and leadership tools. This year also two Roundtable winners presented as part of a panel: Adult Music Education: It’s Not Just for Kids. These Roundtable Award-winning presentations were made by the following organizations:

  • Madison Symphony Orchestra League: 23rd Annual Concert on the Green
  • Southside Friends of the Chicago Sinfonietta: A Magical Holiday Breakfast
  • Houston Symphony League: Wine Dinner Collector’s Auction
  • League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association: Senior & Veteran Engagement Program
  • Friends of Music Guild, Orchestra of Southern Utah: 76 Consecutive Years of Handel’s Messiah
  • League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association: Educational Seminar Series
  • Friends of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra: Sounds of Music
  • Houston Symphony League: Reach Out and Touch Someone
  • League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association: Fall in Love with Music
  • Kansas City Symphony League: “Evening Overtures”
  • Oklahoma City Orchestra League: More than Just a Pretty Face – Rebranding, Website, and Social Media
  • Kansas City Symphony Alliance: 48th Symphony Designers’ Showhouse

Following Gold Book presentations on Wednesday, three speakers presented a program entitled Membership: Finding Keepers. This included presentations on engaging millennials, marketing with Facebook and Music Bingo for Membership. This session was wrapped up with a fun game of Music Bingo created especially for this Conference for all delegates.

The networking lunch was also held on Wednesday. This important session featured Volunteer Council Sustainer Jo Ellen Saylor leading a dynamic and interactive presentation entitled Volunteer Leadership Can Be Child's Play. In this session, we discovered how classic toys could relate to volunteer leadership characteristics and better ways for those with different leadership styles to work together and appreciate one another.

On Thursday, the excitement continued with two Gold Book Winners sharing how they reached out to families and young students. These were followed by the Roundtable Award winners presenting details about their adult music education programs and how they fostered knowledge and engagement in their communities.

On Friday, we had two stimulating sessions. First, we heard from two Gold Book Award Winners discussing the events they used to engage audiences unique to their communities. Following this session, five Roundtable Award winners presented projects in which they rebranded, increased engagement with members, and established fundraisers to benefit their volunteer groups.

You, too, could be at these tables!

Special thanks go to the Conference Committee chairs and to Derek Weagle, our League liaison, who helped make this Conference a success!

Check out the PowerPoints, scripts, and handouts for each of the Volunteer Projects that can be found on the League's website.

Join us next year in Nashville!

Camille Williams, Volunteer Council Conference Chair | cbwbooks@gmail.com

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild

Gold Book 2019

2018 Gold Book Awards at the Reception

The Volunteer Council invites you to have a seat at the table next year! Submit your organization’s project online for an opportunity to win a coveted Gold Book Award and the opportunity to present at the 2019 Conference of the League of American Orchestras in Nashville.

All projects must be submitted in full by August 31 at our new Gold Book submission page and must have been completed between July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. Submission categories include: audience development/community engagement, communication/technology, education, fundraising, leadership/organizational structure, membership, and service projects.

Watch the Volunteer Council’s webinar for tips and strategies on how to submit your best project. For questions, please contact the League Volunteer Council Liaison, Derek Weagle at dweagle@americanorchestras.org or 646 822 4083.

Projects must have been completed before July 1, 2018 to be eligible for the 2018-2019 Awards. Submit at goldbookonline.org by August 15.

Resource Spotlight

Have you ever traded multiple emails or phone calls just to find a date and time for a meeting? There’s an easier way: Doodle to the rescue! doodle.com, a free scheduling website, lets you poll your participants to find the best date, time or place for a meeting. The website guides you through the steps. First, you select possible date and time options. As organizer, you'll receive a link to your Doodle poll that you email to your participants inviting them to “vote” (select all the potential dates/times that work for them.) Then, as people vote, your poll will be updated so you can see at a glance which options have been chosen. Finally, once everyone has responded, you pick the best option and let your guests know. It’s the simple way to schedule a meeting.

Janet Cabot, Field Communications Chair | jbcabot52@gmail.com

Madison Symphony Orchestra League

Volunteer Council Sustainers Hit High Notes in Chicago

During this last year, we have highlighted VC Sustainers’ ongoing impact regionally – founding/operating the Southeast Orchestra Volunteers Association (SOVA) and enhancing volunteer programming and training for the Texas Association of Symphony Orchestras (TASO). In today’s column, we’d like to highlight how our VC Sustainers made a difference at this year’s Conference in Chicago in mid-June.

Elaine Cousins (Class of 2009) was front and center with her presentation of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal’s Gold Book award-winning project, “Lavender & Lemons.” The project, a one-day kitchen design tour, featured low- and high-cost renovations in both new and older homes, earning close to $10,000 for their organization. Elaine discovered this project at a 2017 Conference panel, “Steal, Copy, and Tweak,” which highlighted volunteers sharing project know-how with others across the country.

Jo Ellen Saylor (Class of 2004) was a keynote speaker for this year’s Networking Luncheon with a presentation of “Toy Box Leadership,” which focused on the leadership lessons the toys we loved as children can help us learn. For example, LEGO bricks have much to teach us about connecting the right people to create extraordinary results. And, Mr. Potato Head could write an entire book on non-verbal communication!

Linda Weisbruch (Class of 2010) teamed up with VC President, Becky Odland, to create a Musical Bingo interlude for our volunteer delegates based on the Gold Book award-winning Musical Bingo project presented at Conference by the Spokane Symphony Associates. Linda and Becky designed their Bingo card with music education in mind, featuring musical instruments, tempos, movements, and composers. As an extra added value, they also created a Musical Word Search puzzle!

The Sustainers of the Volunteer Council continue to serve symphony volunteers and symphonic music at all levels – from their home orchestras to the annual gathering of volunteers from across the country at the League’s annual Conferences.

We are fortunate to have such great support. This coming year, three Sustainers from Texas will join forces to support Tiffany Ammerman, fellow Texan, during her year as Volunteer Council president. Las Tres Amigas are Laura Hyde (Class of 2008), Heather Moore (Class of 2004), and Helen Shaffer (Class of 2006).

Linda Weisbruch, Sustainer Liaison | linda.weisbruch@gmail.com

Symphony Guild of Charlotte

Life at the League – Meet our Liaison

Meet Derek Weagle – composer, conductor, music educator, and the League's liaison to the Volunteer Council. Since joining the League of American Orchestras in February, he has hit the ground running and hasn't stopped moving! As our liaison, he supports our ongoing activities including Volunteer Notes, webinars, and meetings, as well as leading production for volunteer programming at the annual conference.

Derek grew up in a rural town in Central Massachusetts and began engaging in music at a young age. After joining his church's hand chime choir in the third grade, he continued to perform regularly in school as a pianist, percussionist, vocalist, and trombone player. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he produced and conducted the premiere of his Earthrise Mass as an Earth Day tribute on a University-sponsored series celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Derek also served as conductor and composer-in-residence for the UMass Lowell String Project and Youth Orchestra for 4 years.

In 2015, Derek was commissioned by a close friend (and now fellow League employee, John-Morgan Bush) to compose a companion piece for the Britten Serenade for tenor, horn and strings. Upon the work's completion, it received two premieres, one with Derek guest conducting the UMass Lowell String Ensemble and another on New England Conservatory's Tuesday Night New Music series. The following spring, Derek also conducted the premiere of his English horn sonata, Resplendent Sorrow in New England Conservatory's historic Jordan Hall, as well as his ballet in collaboration with The Boston Conservatory Dance Division.

Derek completed his Master of Music degree in Music Composition, with a minor in Choral Conducting in 2017. That fall, his work Assembly was premiered in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Conservatory and was also commissioned for a large choral-orchestral work, The Vespers, the Star, the Light of Love! by Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Other notable work includes his wind band fanfare, Tempest which has enjoyed performances at Universities around the country, as well as his new chamber work petals! petals! which was premiered at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium this summer.

Derek currently resides in New York City fulfilling commissions, teaching piano and composition, and serves full-time as Coordinator of Meetings & Logistics for the League in addition to his role as Volunteer Council Liaison. VC members appreciate Derek's responsiveness and can-do attitude. He is a great addition to the hardworking and dedicated team at the League offices!

The Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras

Volunteer Council 2017-2018 | Front Row: Linda Weisbruch, Janet Cabot, Camille Williams, Becky Odland, Tiffany Ammerman, Iris Harvie, Sheri Gill, Sharon Hatchett; Back Row: Sandy Feldman, Ginny Lundquist, Tresa Radermacher, Beth Wise, Linda Stevens, Debbie McKinney, Cindy Kidwell, Julie Meredith

Your Volunteer Council works to bring together the best ideas, best projects and best practices from volunteers around the country to share with you at Conference and through various resources.


Tiffany Ammerman, Marshall Symphony, TX | President

Becky Odland, Minnesota Orchestra, MN | Immediate Past President

Terry Ann White, Amarillo Symphony, TX | President-Elect

Linda Stevens, Kansas City Symphony, MO | Conference Chair

Tresa Radermacher, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, IN | Conference Chair-Elect


Janet Cabot, Madison Symphony Orchestra, WI

Bruce Colquhoun, Spokane Symphony, WA

Sandy Feldman, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, MD

Sharon Hatchett, Chicago Sinfonietta, IL

Cindy Kidwell, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, TX

Ginny Lundquist, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, MI

Julie Meredith, Utah Symphony, UT

Laurie Skjerseth, Quad City Symphony, IA

Terry Ann White, Amarillo Symphony, TX

Beth Wise, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, AL

Camille Williams, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, AR

Ex-Officio Members

Sheri Gill, AMSOV President, Los Angeles Philharmonic, CA

Kathleen McCracken, 2019 Conference Liaison-Nashville, Nashville Symphony, TN

Laura Hyde, Heather Moore and Helen Shaffer, Volunteer Council Sustainer Liaisons, TX

Marylou Turner, Sustainer Mentoring Program Chair, Kansas City Symphony, MO

Created By
Derek Weagle


Created with images by Pexels - "fountain pen note notebook" • Aaron Burson - "Woven" • Christian DeKnock - "Chicago Theatre During Snowfall"

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